Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the RyeSUMMARY: A seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield tells a story about what he did during a few days a year ago when he was expelled from school. Instead of going home, he aimlessly wanders the streets of New York, making observations about everything and everyone and behaving stupidly.


I first read this book when I was around 18. Rereading it now, it was quite a different experience, because my English is now much better than then and because now I can see it from a teacher’s perspective.

Nevertheless, I could not find many things to enjoy in this book. The plot itself was disappointing. I kept waiting for something big to happen, but there is no such event, just a teenager rambling about.

Holden is a spoiled rich boy, who is constantly complaining about everyone being phony. He is intelligent but lazy which is why he fails most of his classes and gets kicked out of school. He behaves foolishly and spends his money carelessly. The only sympathetic characteristic I could find about him was his affection for his dead brother. Otherwise, he is just an annoying teenager, alienated from his parents, though they seem quite ordinary parents for their class and time, at least Holden does not provide any solid example of them not being nice to him.

What I like in The Cather in the Rye is how Salinger captures teenage slang in such a timeless manner that can be related to teenagers in the present. Also, the following of Holden’s statements made me laugh (it was sarcastic bitter-sweet teacher's laughter): “You can’t stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it.” and “You don’t have to think too hard when you talk to a teacher.”

There are a few such sarcasm-provoking sentences scattered across the book, which livens it up a little. I found the parts where Holden expresses his opinion on a few books and films interesting, too, since I obviously like talking about these topics.

RECOMMENDATION: Need a substitute for an afternoon nap? Read this, it is very calming and relaxing, nothing too exciting; that is if you do not get unnerved by teenage rambling. 


  1. Bravo to you for reading this more than once :-) LOL I read it when I was 20 I think, and I didn't really enjoy it.

  2. I wasn't a fan of Catcher in the Rye, either, but I know of people who REALLY like it. It's one of those books, I suppose. ;)

  3. @ Sarah: it's a professional hazard:( - I needed to get reacquainted with it because of tutoring or maybe even teaching high school seniors, since it is on the compulsory reading list for English finals this school year.

  4. I always think there's something wrong with me if I don't like a "classic" but this one was not for me. I just really don't like the "stream of consciousness" drivel....

    Glad someone else agrees.

  5. It's been a long time since I have read it but I never really thought it was that great either.

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  6. I've read it once..I think I own a copy.
    It's a confusing book but I was curious and kept reading hoping I'd figure out why it's called Catcher in the Rye and why it's so great.

    And I kinda liked his hat.


Don't hesitate to drop me a few strange new words! I'd love to hear what you think!